Our perspective on technology is skewed. Sure, Facebook or Twitter might be the latest technology, but where do you draw the line at “latest”? Compared to the course of human history, a car is pretty cutting edge. Compard to Abraham from the Old Testament, the telephone is new. It’s easy to villain-ize the new while we miss the fact that we are driving a car, which few people 150 years ago could even imagine.
In the first chapter of John Dyer’s “From the Garden to the City”, he does an excellent job making sure his readers gain a little bit of perspective into the technology debate. People are often willing to accept technology that was created/discovered before their birth and during the first few decades of their life. This makes sense since I am pretty savvy online while my grandmother couldn’t find her way to my blog with a web address. We were raised at different times, and while she is a firm believer in the telephone (which I don’t use often enough) she isn’t when it comes to email. Yet I see both as old technology. Both were commonplace before I was out of elementary school.
When we look at technology, it is easy to say that the new technology is evil while ignoring our cars, our landlines, or our refrigerators. We must examine all technology, not just the ones that are new, because “new” really is a relative term.
What piece of technology did you grow up with, that now people consider commonplace?
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